THE KARA AND ADAM GOUCHER ALLEGATIONS
Kara and Adam Goucher are a second primary source in the BBC and ProPublica stories. Kara ran for me in the Oregon Project for 7 years. We were very close. I had great respect for Kara as an athlete and as a person. Adam also ran for me in the Oregon Project but for a shorter time period. As I will describe more fully below, Adam’s behavior is why I no longer coach Kara.
The Gouchers have made a number of allegations against me in the BBC and ProPublica stories that are not true. It should be noted that even while making these false allegations against me, neither Kara nor Adam ever claim that I violated the WADA Code or IAAF anti-doping rules. They never allege that they committed any doping violation or that I ever asked them to commit any doping violation. I never did.
Here is what really happened with contemporaneous emails and documents to prove it.
Kara’s Post-Pregnancy Weight
In the BBC and ProPublica stories, Kara claims that five months after her son was born, I was unhappy with her weight and told her to take Cytomel, a thyroid medication to lose weight. That is just not true. I was thrilled with Kara’s weight, body compostion and fitness in 2011, and I told her so. She had lost weight, but she had added muscle and lowered her body fat. I did not think she needed to lose additional weight and I did not want her to lose any more weight. Here is a documented timeline of events.
September 25, 2010: Colt Goucher is born.
October 20, 2010: Kara posts on her karagoucher.competitor.com blog that she has already lost 27 of the 35 pounds she gained during her pregnancy. http://karagoucher.competitor.com/page/4/
February 22, 2011: I complimented Kara on her latest hemoglobin test results and her weight loss.
March 24, 2011: Kara’s nutritionist, emailed Kara’s latest body composition test results to Magness, Kara Goucher and me. Her nutritionist detailed how she and Kara had developed a plan to slowly get Kara to the weight Kara wanted to be in time for the World Championships in late summer. See Exhibit 18.
March 25, 2011: I emailed her nutritionist that I thought Kara had put on some good upper body muscle and perhaps even some in her calves and thighs and that I did not want Kara to shoot for weight she could not reach. See Exhibit 19.
Her nutritionist emailed Kara to let her know that I was fine with the approach they had laid out and that I did not want Kara going for too much. The nutritionist noted that I did not want Kara to even weigh herself the week before the Boston Marathon. See Exhibit 20.
April 4, 2011: I emailed one of Kara’s trainers who had designed weight-training programs for her, to congratulate him on the tremendous job he had done with Kara. I noted that she is “rock hard everywhere” at 125 pounds two weeks before the Boston Marathon and that she competed at 124 pounds two years earlier. I noted that she was stronger and more defined and that her body would take the pounding of a marathon better than any other runners. I noted that through her workouts and strength training with them, Kara had been able to match what others had only been able to accomplish through cheating.
April 5, 2011: I emailed Kara, forwarding my email to her trainer, stating: “FYI- I’m not exaggerating, I’m so pumped about how ripped you are! You’ve now got the body to take the pounding better than ever before and your engine is bigger than ever! – Alberto”
These documents make clear that I was thrilled with Kara’s weight after she had Colt and I told her so repeatedly. I fully supported her efforts and did not want her to lose weight more quickly. In fact, I wanted her not to lose weight so quickly.
Kara and Cytomel
In the BBC and ProPublica stories, Kara Goucher claims that her endocrinologist told her not to take Cytomel. Adam Goucher then claims that Kara’s endocrinologist “chastised” me for having given Kara some Cytomel tablets. Those statements are just false. Notably, the BBC and ProPublica stories do not contain statements from Kara and Adam’s endocrinologist, Dr. Jeffrey Brown.
There was one time when I gave Kara Cytomel. It was in August 2011in Daegu, South Korea. I did so after being expressly directed to do so by Kara’s endocrinologist, Dr. Brown. See Exhibit 21.
Here is documented timeline of that event.
August 17-18, 2011: Kara received cortisone injections to treat an injury before participating in the 2011 IAAF World Championships in Daegu.
August 19, 2011: I received an email advising me of the exact medicines and dosages of the cortisone injections Kara received. See Exhibit 22. I spoke with Dr.Brown on August 19th about how the athletes were feeling I told him that Kara had been feeling tired and off for some days. He asked me if she'd taken any new medications, especially anything with cortisone, as he says it reduces your thyroid hormone absorption. I told him that the she had received two cortisone shots. He asked me to get the details of the shots for him.
August 20, 2011: I emailed Kara’s endocrinologist, Dr. Brown, the details of Kara’s cortisone shots and asked if he wanted to change anything in her treatment. I also noted that I had picked up the Cytomel Dr. Brown had prescribed for Galen. I further noted that I was on my way to Korea and would be traveling for the next 18 hours. See Exhibit 22.
Dr. Brown responded that Kara “should immediately start on the cytomel 5 micrograms twice a day. the first dose she should take with her levoxyl and then next 12 hours later and so on.” See Exhibit 22.
August 21, 2012: I emailed Dr. Brown that I would have Kara start on her Cytomel now. See Exhibit 22.
The documents clearly demonstrate that I gave Kara Cytomel upon the express direction of her endocrinologist, Dr. Brown. I did not give Kara Cytomel to lose weight as she now claims.
2011 IAAF World Championships, Daegu, South Korea
In the BBC and ProPublica stories, Kara claims that I was “fuming” when I called a USATF official to complain that a U.S. doctor had declined to give Galen Rupp an IV. Kara then claims that I told her how we would manipulate the system to get Galen an IV stating how he would answer certain questions. Those allegations are false. As the US team doctor has confirmed, at no time did I request the US team doctor to give Galen an IV or saline drip while he was in Daegu in 2011. See Exhibit 23. Here is a documented timeline of what happened.
August 24, 2011: I emailed Jim Estes, USATF Associate Director of Marketing and LDR Programs, to ask the US team doctors to see if Galen could get a magnesium infusion and vitamin B12 shot because of issues he was suffering due to the heat and humidity in Daegu. See Exhibit 24. Magnesium and vitamin B12 are not banned substances and the treatment is permitted under the WADA Code and IAAF anti-doping rules.
Jim Estes emailed me back stating that he was “taking Kara back now and will check with him [USATF team doctor Bob Adams] when he got back. See Exhibit 24.
Galen did not receive any vitamin shots in Deagu. The U.S. team doctors did not have any needles and UK Athletics doctors could not treat a U.S. athlete.
These documents prove that I never requested an IV or saline drip for Galen in Daegu. They also prove that I did not call a USATF official “fuming” that Galen had not received something I never requested in the first place.
I also should note that not only did I not request an IV or saline drip while in Daegu, Galen has never received a TUE for an IV or saline drip. Galen’s TUEs have been exclusively for the treatment of his asthma and allergies. Since 2010, when WADA no longer required a TUE for Galen’s prescription medicine, Advair, Galen has received 2 TUEs, both for short term doses of prednisone; one on July 22, 2011 and the second on February 26, 2012. He has not had a TUE since then.
Galen’s American Record Performance In Brussels
In the BBC and ProPublica stories, Kara makes a gratuitous and completely unfounded attack on Galen regarding the American record he set in the 10,000m race in Brussels on September 16, 2011. In the stories, Kara claims that she spoke with Galen in Daegu and he said he was tired, exhausted and excited to have the season over. She then states that: “You don’t get to the end of a long year burnt out and take two weeks off and come out and run the best race of your life, that’s not how it works. You have to rest. You have to recover. You have to start all over again.”
Kara’s statements are wrong on so many levels. First, Kara grossly underestimates Galen’s accomplishments and how strong of a race he ran in Daegu. Galen’s 10,000m time in Daegu was 27:26.84. After the race, Magness researched Galen’s performance to see how it compared to others under similar conditions for heat and humidity. The research showed that Galen’s time was the fastest time for a non-African under those conditions by approximately 25 seconds or more. Magness also calculated the impact of Galen’s size and weight compared to the other runners in that race. (Galen was 8-10 pounds heavier than those that finished above him.) Magness determined that Galen’s size differential compounded the impact of the heat and humidity such that it added 18 seconds to his time – a mere 8 second differential would have put Galen on the podium.
We were very excited for Galen to run in Brussels in a few weeks when the weather would be much cooler.
Galen’s training for Brussels was going very well and days before the race I emailed others indicating that if the pace of the race started correctly, Galen could run a 26:45 and set the American Record. The temperature at race time was much cooler, approximately 59ºF, compared to 80ºF in Daegu. The pace was favorable and Galen ran a 26:48 for 3rd place and a new American record.
An experienced runner like Kara should know the impact of temperature when running. Her claim that “that's not how it works” to the BBC and ProPublica is not true. Galen ran an excellent race in Brussels but his performance in Daegu was actually better. Simply inputting Galen’s Brussels time and weather conditions into the Running Calculator on the RunSmartProject.com translates his Brussels time to a 27:38 for the Daegu weather conditions– or approximately 11 seconds slower than Galen ran in Daegu. Galen’s improved time in Brussels was not an anomaly either. Kenensia Bekele dropped out of the race in Daegu and then came back to win the 10,000m in Brussels with a 2011 world-leading time of 26:43.16.
Also, it should be noted that Kara raised no such issues at the time. The day of the race, she emailed me congratulations on Galen’s great run.
It is sad that Kara has made these baseless attacks on Galen and what he has accomplished.
Termination of the Gouchers Relationship with the Oregon Project
The BBC and ProPublica stories note that Adam and Kara are no longer in the Oregon Project. The stories, however, do not provide any detail why that is the case. The stories imply that it was related to the allegations Adam and Kara falsely assert in the stories. That is not the case. Here is what happened.
In 2008, Adam Goucher suffered a number of injuries and his performance was off. Adam had run the 32nd fastest 10,000m time that year and had missed the cut for the Olympic Trials for that event. Adam petitioned the USATF, which granted him an exception that allowed him to compete as the 25th runner in the field. I coached Adam for the Trials and we were hopeful he would qualify for Beijing. He didn’t. In the warm-up area after that race, Adam became extremely emotional and belligerent toward me and the race plan we had developed together. My relationship with Adam never recovered.
I continued to coach Kara, however, and she continued to be successful. My relationship with Adam remained strained, but, Kara and I were able to overcome it. Adam also played a bigger role in her training, travel arrangements and other matters. He continually complained. Finally, things came to a head in Daegu when Adam went on an insulting rant. That was the last straw.
After Daegu, I emailed Adam about his behavior. I told him that I did not want him involved in Kara’s workouts any longer and if that was not acceptable to Kara I would find a new coach for her. Kara was copied on this email and I also forwarded it to Magness and others in the Oregon Project.
Kara responded shortly thereafter defending Adam and copied in Darren Treasure of the Oregon Project. I responded that Kara had to decide if she wanted me to coach her or not. I told her: I will not coach you if Adam continues with his actions and feelings. I care too much about you to go forward with a bound to fail proposition. Going forward, I’m no longer going to be handling any of your travel, hotels, etc. Adam…can set it up.
Kara then responded: Alberto, I love you and love being coached by you. But if you don’t want to coach me anymore, please tell me now. I cannot go through another year by myself like this past year. If you don’t want to coach me, please tell me now so that I can figure out what I am going to do. I can’t stress enough how much I love you coaching me, but I can’t handle these types of threats leading into an Olympic year.
To suggest I was threatening Kara is absurd. I just didn’t want to fail her because her husband didn’t agree with my approach. In the end, I could not coach her if Adam was involved.
When I returned from Brussels, Kara and I met and agreed it was best that we part ways and she find another coach. After our meeting we exchanged additional emails and parted friends. See Exhibit 25. I told her I still loved her. She wrote back that while we disagree on some things, we both agree that we care a lot for one another and hope that never changes. She wrote: “I have loved you for years now and don’t see that changing.” See Exhibit 25.
These emails make it abundantly clear why I stopped coaching Kara. It had nothing to do with the reasons implied in the BBC and ProPublica stories.
I also note that Kara’s contemporaneous public statements after leaving the Oregon Project are consistent with the emails we exchanged at the time and there is no hint of any impropriety by anyone associated with the Oregon Project. For example, in her October 23, 2011 post on her karagoucher.competitor.com blog Kara stated:
My decision to leave the Oregon Project was a very difficult one and a decision that I gave endless thought and consideration. I have had my best years under Alberto Salazar and after 7 years together he certainly knows me better as an athlete than anyone besides my husband. I have blossomed under him, going from an often injured nobody to a World Championship bronze medalist and Major Marathon podium finisher. To say that Alberto has helped me find myself and my career would be a massive understatement. He has forever changed my life and I feel eternal gratitude toward him.
Here is a link to her full statement. http://karagoucher.competitor.com/
Thus, from the facts disclosed above, supported by contemporaneous emails and documents, it is clear that the statements by Adam and Kara Goucher in the BBC/ProPublica stories are false. I have no idea why they have made these false statements about the Oregon Project, Galen and me. I find it sad beyond words.
THE JOHN STINER ALLEGATIONS
In the BBC/ProPublica stories, John Stiner, a former independent contractor who performed massage therapy services, along with his wife, for the Oregon Project for a single six-week period, discusses an incident that occurred in 2008. He states that I called him and asked him to send a number of items that we had left behind in Utah. In particular he notes my prescription for Androgel and some legal, over-the-counter supplements named Alpha Male. That happened; I asked him to send back items, including my prescription medicine and the supplements. His description of what I said is not accurate. The storytellers then add inappropriate innuendo to his misstatements. Here is what happened.
First, I have a valid prescription for Androgel. See Exhibit 26. While this is something I would not like to air publicly, I am forced to do so to protect my athletes. As I stated above, my excessive training as an athlete did extensive damage to my body. One of the lingering negative effects from which I still suffer today is hypogonadism with significant symptoms, including multiple low testosterone serum levels. See Exhibit 26. Additionally, I have suffered from primary pituitary insufficiency, hypothyroidism and adrenal insufficiency as a result of my excessive training. These conditions are not new. I have been under the care and treatment of licensed medical doctors for them for approximately the past 25 years. They are also no secret. I fully disclosed and documented my conditions with the USATF, IAAF and USOC decades ago. There is no question that I have a valid justification for my possession of Androgel as defined by the WADA Code.
Second, I did not tell John Stiner that my Androgel was for my heart. It isn’t. It is for my overall health. I have fully disclosed my Androgel prescription to my cardiologist, Dr. Todd Caulfield. Dr. Caulfield and I fully discussed the risks and benefits of my continued Androgel therapy. See Exhibit 27. My treatments also were discussed with my primary internal medicine physician, Dr. Kristina Harp. See Exhibit 26. Ultimately, it was decided the benefits of preserving my energy and ability to exercise outweighed the small risk of continued Androgel use. See Exhibit 27.
For these reasons, the BBC and ProPublica stories’ innuendo that I do not have a valid justification is simply wrong. Their attempt to imply that because I have an Androgel prescription I must be giving it to my athletes is even more wrong. It is hurtful and completely baseless. It not only inappropriately smears me and belittles me for my medical conditions, it harms innocent athletes. I have never given Androgel to any of my athletes. As my pharmacist attests, my Androgel prescription has been filled consistent with my personal prescribed use. See Exhibit 28.
Lastly, the supplement Alpha Male is completely legal and is regularly sold over-the-counter. It is not a banned substance by WADA or the IAAF. That said, supplements are not regulated the same as prescription medicines so just to be safe before the athletes I am coaching take any supplement, I have that supplement tested to make sure it is not contaminated and does not contain any traces of banned substances. The testing can be more expensive than the supplements, which is why I had John Stiner return the Alpha Male supplements that had been left behind; they had been tested and were clean – I knew they did not contain any banned substances. See Exhibit 29.
Since the BBC/ProPublica stories were first published, John Stiner has made further allegations against Galen Rupp. In particular, John Stiner has tried to imply that Galen’s allergy immunotherapy medicine is something else. It’s not. Galen has been receiving allergy immunotherapy vaccine injections since approximately 2004. His allergy specialists at the Allergy Clinic in Portland have specially mixed two vaccines for him. Vaccine A: Allergens & Molds contains the following extracts: Cat, Dog, Dust Mites and 2 types of Molds. Vaccine B: Pollens contains: Mixed Grasses, Ragweeds, and 3 different Weeds common in the Pacific Northwest. The extracts used by the Allergy Clinic in the vials they provided to Galen are standardized extracts from Hollister-Stier, an American producer. Galen must receive weekly injections to help control his allergies and his asthma. All documents related to these medicines and Galen’s treatment for his allergies were provided to USADA in 2013. There is no issue here.
In a remarkable display of irresponsible journalism, the BBC/ProPublica stories attribute an anonymous source to “statements” allegedly made by a deceased person – Dr. Myhre – 8 years ago. I know of no factual basis to support those “statements.” They are completely contrary to my experience with Dr. Myhre. I do not know of a single instance where Dr. Myhre ever recommended that an athlete that I was coaching take testosterone whether with a prescription or otherwise. Testosterone is a banned substance. Dr. Myhre and everyone associated with the Oregon Project, including and especially me, do not, have not and will not condone the use of any banned substance. To suggest otherwise is completely inappropriate.
The BBC/ProPublica stories claim that these alleged statements were made in 2007. The stories also claim that this anonymous person suffered from low thyroid. In 2007, the only doctor to whom I had referred any athletes for thyroid conditions was Dr. Jeffrey Brown, a leading endocrinologist introduced to me by Kara Goucher, who was being treated by Dr. Brown before I began coaching her. I am not aware of Dr. Brown ever treating any athlete that I have coached for low testosterone and I have never asked him to prescribe testosterone for any athlete I was coaching. Dr. Brown has expressly told me that he has never prescribed testosterone for any athlete I was coaching. See Exhibit 27.
To claim “That is what Alberto does” is completely false. It is not what I did then; it’s not what I do now and it’s not what I have ever done.
Here is a concrete, contemporaneous example of what I did in 2006 when I learned that one of my athletes had low testosterone levels. That athlete also had low thyroid levels and was being treated by Dr. Brown. If the anonymous source is to be believed then I would have told that athlete to get a prescription for testosterone from Dr. Brown. Of course, that is not what happened. What I did was tell the athlete to research legal supplements. See Exhibit 30. I also told him about Alpha Male, the supplement I had already had tested and knew did not contain any banned substances. See Exhibit 30. That is what “Alberto did.” I fully complied with the WADA Code and IAAF Rules and recommended that he research legal supplements. Also, I told him about some supplements that I had had tested by outside laboratories to make sure they were clean.
These allegations against Dr. Myhre and me are false. I told the BBC/ProPublica writers that they were provably false and they still printed them. That is disgraceful.
As shown above, supported by the referenced documents, the allegations in the BBC/ProPublica stories are demonstrably false. I told both media outlets that their stories contained false information before they were published. I have now offered evidence that they are false. I hereby demand the BBC and ProPublica immediately publish a retraction of their false statements.
In preparing this response, I have spent hours reviewing information from the past 15 years. It has brought back many memories and caused me to think a great deal about everything we have done and accomplished in the Oregon Project. It is incredible. I am very proud of our success.
It also has caused me to think a lot about all the naysayers we have had to overcome in the process and to put things in perspective. I am saddened that these false allegations have been allowed to run with little care for the carnage in their wake.
Unfortunately, Galen and I were the ones these “reporters” decided to damn with their “publish at all costs” philosophy. It is our reputations they have harmed. Innocent athletes’ careers tarnished with nothing but innuendo, hearsay and rumor. Some have tried to console me by saying public attacks like these are the price of success in today’s world. You win: people will try to tear you down. That’s not my world. That's not the Oregon Project. Here, success is earned with talent, hard work, dedication and fair play…. and, that’s how it is going to stay. Let the haters hate; we’re going to keep winning through hard work, dedication and fair play.
I hope you will afford those individuals that have misled you the same demands for proof and substantiation as you have asked of me.